Northern Territory Government Newsroom

Touchdown: Darwin Welcomes Inaugural Donghai Airlines Flight

It’s an exciting day for the Territory, with the first non-stop Donghai Airlines flight to touchdown in Darwin, direct from Shenzhen, China.

Following a formal ceremony at the Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport with Minister for Tourism and Culture Lauren Moss, Donghai Airlines Chairman Mr Huang Chubiao and President Mr Yang Jianhong and a performance by the Territory’s own award winning Indigenous dance stars Djuki Mala, the new airline service was welcomed to Darwin International Airport with a traditional water cannon salute.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner, Northern Territory Airports CEO Ian Kew and the Chung Wah Society Lion Dance Troupe this morning welcomed Donghai Airlines President Mr Yang Jianhong to Darwin.

Mr Gunner said this was a milestone moment for Territory tourism.

“We have invested an additional $103 million to turbocharge tourism and the arrival of our first non-stop direct flight from China heralds a step-change in our international competitiveness,” Mr Gunner said.

“The Territory Labor Government fought hard to secure this new route because we know the positive impact it will have on Territory tourism and job creation.

“The new route is anticipated to bring thousands of new Chinese visitors to the Territory, and has the potential to deliver $32 million in new visitor expenditure each year, once the route reaches three flights per week at 80 per cent capacity."

In the last calendar year alone trade between China and the Territory totalled $2.06 billion – including exports worth $1.93 billion – making China our largest international trading partner.  The new service will enable stronger trade links to develop between Shenzhen and Darwin.

Northern Territory Airports CEO Ian Kew, said the launch of the non-stop air service to Shenzhen will provide immediate economic benefits to Darwin and the Northern Territory.

“Donghai Airlines commitment to the non-stop air service has already created new jobs and business opportunities for NT residents.  Additional catering and ground handling contracts have been awarded to local operators and the flight crew will be accommodated in Darwin hotels,” Mr Kew said.

“Importantly, these services open up new supply channels for airfreight. There will be an expected average of 1.5 tonnes of freight volume available for export/import per flight to tranship time sensitive high value items between the Northern Territory and China. The first flight from Darwin to Shenzhen tonight is carrying agricultural products to supply the Chinese consumer market.”

Minister for Tourism and Culture Lauren Moss said the recent delegation to China strengthened trade partnerships and mutually beneficial tourism relationships.

“The Donghai Airlines crew accommodation contract awarded to H Hotel on Smith Street, is another reflection of the flow-on benefits of a new airline service for Darwin with the 12 month agreement a boost for local jobs,” Ms Moss said.

“The delegation to Shenzhen included meetings with key tourism distribution partners, who will be working to sell NT holidays to Chinese tourists, with the Tourism NT’s campaign, 北领地-澳洲'游'你才完整” - Your Australian journey is not complete without the Northern Territory and NT destinations highly visible around the city of Shenzhen.

“The campaign highlights the Territory’s uniqueness, highlighting to Chinese travellers the ‘brag-ability’ factor in the NT with our UNESCO World Heritage-listed National Parks, accessible adventure and unspoiled landscapes.

“This is particularly important as we look to make in-roads to this now highly accessible market, as a result of the 5 ½ hour non-stop flight into China.”

Territorians can book direct return flights from Darwin to Shenzhen, China with flights scheduled to depart and return on Wednesdays & Sundays  – visit to book or phone Donghai Airlines Australian Customer Service on 1800 905 614

Media Contact: Hannah Farmer 0428 497 154